A primary responsibility of the La Plata County Treasurer is to collect property taxes as efficiently as possible. This is especially important as property taxes have declined by almost 50 percent in the last few years due to declining oil and gas revenues.
So what is a county treasurer to do? Every year, in November, Colorado county treasurers hold an auction on delinquent taxes. La Plata County held an online auction this year. Here are the results. Not only did this type of auction cost taxpayers no money, this auction actually made money for La Plata County! In October, when we first advertised the tax lien sale, there were 28 percent more delinquent accounts than last year. That doesn’t sound good. But by the time the auction began, we had 10 percent fewer accounts available for sale than last year.
So how can you make money when there are fewer tax liens to sell, especially when the rate of return offered to investors is the same in 2015 as it was in 2014? The online auction attracted more investors than ever before: 11 percent more. And these investors were really competitive. They bid up the premiums, paying 35 percent more this year than last year, which resulted in providing the county with 51 percent more in real premium dollars over 2014. They also bought more tax liens, leaving the County with 38 percent less in unpaid taxes than in 2014.
What does this mean, practically? It means the on-line tax lien sale, paid for by the tax lien investors, resulted in the recovery of all of the Herald’s advertising costs this year (it usually takes three years to recover this money), as well as providing more than enough money to cover the stationery, printing and mailing costs of collecting next year’s taxes.
I’ll let you know what you can do to help drive down government costs of collecting property taxes. Your property tax statement will be mailed to you in late January. Please make sure we have your current address on file.
La Plata County Treasurer